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DWCM Educated on the Flight Academy, and the STEM and STEAM Programs in the CCPS System

October 11, 2019

Democratic Women’s Club of Marco Island

General Meeting October 7, 2019

Mackle Park

5-6:30 pm


Stephanie Ballo opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance. About 40 people attended the meeting. She asked for a moment of silence. She thanked Barbara Bonthron and Dierdra Schmitt for representing our club at last month’s environmental rally in Naples and for wearing our DWCM vests.



  • Gave info on Manatee Elementary School presentation in Sept and to contact Deborah Eby at the school if any members wanted to volunteer their time at the school. 

  • We are having voter registration training on Tuesday, Nov 5 at 10 am at the library. Please sign up through the link: https://www.mobilize.us/colliercountydec/event/133775/

  • November 12 meeting will feature Susan Cone of Mom’s Demand Action. The meeting and all future meetings of DWCM will be at Mackle Park through May 2020.

  • November 23 is a Meet and Greet at Fiddler’s Creek from 5-7 pm at Chris’s house.

  • Habitat for Humanity is looking for volunteers the 10th of every month to register voters. Info will be sent from us to register. 

  • Dawn Rubin spoke about the Silent Auction Fundraiser which will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 5-9 m at Mershon Niesner’s house during our annual Holiday Open House. She encouraged people to donate items for the event or to ask local businesses that you frequent for a donation. Looking for tickets to sporting or theater events, gift certificates to restaurants, small items that can be put together in baskets.

  • Linda Brown gave a brief wrap up of the Democratic Women’s Convention in Orlando in Sept. She mentioned two break-out sessions focusing on Amendement 4 and on Voter Protection issues. She said they recommended Vote by Mail as the best way to get more people to actually vote.

  • Sally McDowell gave the treasurer’s report. We currently have $1,900 in our account.

  • She introduced our evening speakers Vincent Keeys from the NAACP and Erick Carter, a board member from Collier County Schools.


Vincent Keeys is the President of the Collier County NAACP. He said the NAACP partners with the Collier County School District on a number of educational programs. Among them 

  • Raising the Bar program for 8-12th grades

  • ACO program which promotes academic, cultural and technology programs. 

  • Partnership with the National Flight Academy for 7th-12th graders in two Collier County Schools

    • This program is fully accredited and is designed to help students consider a field in aviation -- pilots, air traffic controllers, flight attendants, etc.   

    • NAACP sponsors scholarships to the summer Flight Academy for all students of all colors and ethnicities. A one week scholarship costs $1,300 and he suggested people to contribute to a scholarship. Last year 8 girls enrolled in the summer program. Many in the program go on to Embry Riddle flight school and others to get their pilot’s licenses. 


Erick Carter is a board member of Collier County School system. 

He provided a range of statistics showing how well the Collier County Schools are doing. Such as

  • Collier is the 115th largest district in the US with 48,000 students.

    • 33% are White; 11% Black and 52% Hispanic. 

  • It has been an A district for the past 3 years.

  • It has an overall graduation rate of 91%, up from 72.5% in 2011. 

  • Disability student graduation rate for 2018 was 91% up from 48% in 2010.

  • Migrant student graduation rate is 94% up from 53% in 2010. Collier has the most migrant students in the state. 

    • There are 103 languages and dialects spoken in the schools

    • In 2018 61% of students qualified for the Federal reduced or free lunch program, up from 44% in 2008.

  • There is a program called STEAM (in addition to STEM program) which focuses on both Arts and Science

  • All high schools have ROTC programs. 

  • Advanced programs include AP courses, AICE program and Duel enrollment where students can earn college credit.

  • Acceleration Options include Cambridge Secondary and Cambridge primary and COVE (an online virtual education option). 

  • Career readiness programs include

    • Entrepreneurship program

    • Engineering Academy,

    • Internships with local businesses 

    • Academies of Engineering, Finance, Health Service, Information Technology, Hospitality and Tourism and the Aerospace and Aviation Technology

  • For students not going on to 4 year colleges they provide information and tours of

    • Lorenzo Walker Technical College and 

    • Immokalee Technical College.

He attributes much of the improvements above to Superintendent Dr. Kamal Patton, who has been with the school district for 8 years, compared to the 7 different superintendents over the previous 10 year period.


Regarding safety in schools, he said he and the Collier Board members are not in favor of arming teachers in the classrooms and would not support it. 


Meeting adjourned at 6:35 pm.

Respectfully submitted, Linda Brown, Recording Secretary 10.8.19

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